Wildfire Preparation: Ensuring Your Business is Ready

Wildfire Preparation: Ensuring Your Business is Ready

Wildfire Preparation: Ensuring Your Business is Ready

Running a business involves managing multiple factors, and preparing your business for a wildfire is likewise multifaceted. If your business is in an area that's vulnerable to wildfires, you should make sure your company’s facility, employees and operations are ready for a potential wildfire emergency.

Protecting the Company’s Property

To whatever extent you’re able, make sure your commercial property is protected against wildfire damage.

There shouldn’t be anything flammable immediately near your building or office, and only fire-resistant plants for the first 100 feet beyond any part of the building. Trees and large bushes should be sparsely planted further out.

Additionally, the building ought to have screens on openings, exterior water sources, and other fire-resistant features. Flammable items shouldn’t be stored near combustible materials, such as wood, that a fire could easily reach.

How much you can do to protect your building, office or other facility largely depends on whether your business owns or leases the property. Do what you can if you own and discuss potential measures with the building owner if you lease.

Have Communication and Evacuation Plans

During a wildfire emergency, communication must be paired with action. Have a communication plan that details how employees will be contacted or should contact others, and maintain a current list of all relevant phone numbers. Keep in mind that communication doesn't have to be just by phone anymore; it can use SMS messaging, email or in-app messaging. You might also include key vendors and customers on the contact list.

Also, establish an evacuation plan that details when and how to leave the area. Evacuation should usually take place when local authorities recommend or mandate evacuations, but you could decide that it's necessary under other circumstances. Make sure employees know what route they should use if they evacuate.

When drafting these plans, make them for wildfires and other emergencies as well.

Develop Operational Contingencies

Operational contingencies can help your business continue work as soon as possible after a wildfire. Depending on your business, you might:

  • Have an alternative remote work plan for employees.
  • Secure a secondary storage location for inventory.
  • Identify similar businesses that may let you lease space or equipment temporarily.
  • Back up all locally stored data and files in the cloud.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to other businesses, in the area and elsewhere, when working on potential contingencies.

Properly Insure Your Business

Insuring your business can help it survive losses that might be sustained during a wildfire. There are a few important commercial insurance coverage options to consider:

  • Commercial Property Coverage: This policy may insure buildings, equipment and possibly inventory against damage or total loss.
  • Commercial Auto Coverage: This insurance may cover damage to company-owned vehicles if comprehensive coverage is included.
  • Business Interruption Coverage: This policy may provide supplemental income while a business works to reopen after a wildfire disaster.

For help reviewing your current business insurance, and making adjustments if needed, contact a local insurance agent who specializes in commercial coverage.